After studies of composition and improvisation under Phillip Wachsmann in London and an academic training on electronic music and sonology at the renowned Royal Conservatory of The Hague, the German (currently based in Berlin) composer Dirk P.Haubrich has started many important collaborations in the field of dance with many well known performers and choreographers. On the occasion of a night at the Opera Garnier in Paris dedicated to the famous Czech former dance performer and choreographer Jiří Kylián, who collaborated with him, Dirk’s sound grabbed the attention of Quanta Records. That meeting brought about the release of Dirk’s debut album, including two long pieces, “Robinson Out Of Context” and “7 to 8”, initially born as compositions (in between experimental, drone music and ambient) to accompany choreographic works by Bruno Listopad and Shen Wei respectively. We had a chat with Dirk focused on this interesting debut. Check it out!
Chain DLK: Hi, Dirk! How are you?
Dirk P.Haubrich: Hi, Vito, fine. Thank you very much for showing interest in my music.
Chain DLK: Can you tell us something about the way the Paris-based label Quanta got in touch with your sounds?
Dirk P.Haubrich: Quanta Records got in touch with me after listening to my music at the Opera Garnier in Paris during a modern dance performance. Adrien and Michael from Quanta Records seemed to like what they heard and they contacted me to buy a copy of my music. As there hasn’t been anything released yet, they offered to publish a record on their label Quanta Records.
Chain DLK: Would you say that the connection between you and Jiri Kylian could be compared to the one between Bejart and Pierre Henry or Michel Colombier?
Dirk P.Haubrich: I am not familiar with the ways of collaboration of Maurice Bejard and Pierre Henry and Michel Colombier. I would guess that it is very different, as there is not a standard way of collaborating.
Chain DLK: Does your sound follow the scenes or the movement of the performers, or would you say they follow your sound?
Dirk P.Haubrich: There are different routes and different states during a creation. But during a creation it is not like, for example, in a film production, where the music comes at the end and glues everything together to one coherent creature.
The coherence is developing in much smaller steps. Dancers like to move to music, so it is up to me to give them something in a quite early stage of a production. If they are working in the dance studio for several days without music, it might happen that there will be different music during rehearsal than mine. It might not necessarily be a bad choice, but it might create a different time space than the one I intended to. Rule of thumb: be first with the music. But after that, both fields get inspiration from each other.
Chain DLK: Which context did you imagine for Robinson during the composition of the first of the two suites of your output on Quanta? Any words about the way you built this composition up and the differences between the original version and its supposed reprise?
Dirk P.Haubrich: The original version of ‘Robinson out of Context’ was composed in 2003. I was working with a group of dancers and a choreographer, Bruno Listopad, on a creation for stage in a small 150-seat blackbox theater in Rotterdam, Holland. The premiere was in October, but I started collecting materials and moods, making decisions on directions and starting composition already in April. Initially I called the project Gamelan Project, as a reference to creating a dense but distinct swarm of sound and acoustic elements. Maybe some great sound-art might emerge, I thought.
The group listened to Marcel Duchamp’s “Creative Act”, (https://soundcloud.com/brainpicker/marcel-duchamp-the-creative-act) and it seems that people have had a good summer, not pressuring oneself to succeed.
During the project, I went through different directions of sound creation. I found it fascinating to use the ER1 Electribe drum machine as one input to a compressor program I wrote in Supercollider, a music programming app, in combination with granulated choir recordings created by moving through the sound using the mouseX value to position the grain. Some FX from the Eventide 7000 DSP did the rest to smooth things together, I guess.
Chain DLK: “7 to 8” on the other side was composed for another coreography as well… Can you introduce this piece?
Dirk P.Haubrich: For 7 to 8, i was moving for 5 weeks to Monte Carlo, where the Ballet de Monte Carlo offered me their Sound Studio to work in. Somehow luxurious to work, but not many connections to the city. Half the city was still closed for cars because of the Formula One that had just rushed through the city. Meanwhile, the pictures of the oil catastrophe of the Deepwater Horizon were still in our hearts, birds in a shimmering, black oil.
Chain DLK: Would you say that your music couldn’t exist without the arts you’re concocting with?
Dirk P.Haubrich: It can exist just by itself. When somebody takes the steps and starts the vinyl, sits down and listens, it starts to exist.
Chain DLK: Considering that potential listeners can’t see the related choreography, how do you suggest they listen?
Dirk P.Haubrich: The listener is not obliged to imagine anything, he rather is obliged to imagine nothing.
Chain DLK: Did you give any instructions to Rashad Becker for mastering?
Dirk P.Haubrich: I did not want to give him instructions before seeing his way of working and what his focus of listening would be. Very quickly, it became clear that he is a very aware listener. This was a very delightful experience. We did a lot of A-B listening, so he offered some opportunities for me to intervene, but I liked very much the way he was approaching my mix. So the time I spent remixing my material was well spent, and after all, I guess I spent several 10s of hours just listening, adjusting and remixing my material before meeting with Rashad in his mastering studio.
Chain DLK: Any work in progress?
Dirk P.Haubrich: I am preparing a new release; further info will be available soon.